This winter, for the first time in recent history, it’s possible to ice skate underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
Since November, when Glide at Brooklyn Bridge Park opened, almost 300 people have packed onto it at any given time, according to organizers. With the Manhattan skyline in the background, patrons skate on real ice under twinkling lights and past digital art. When finished skating, they can retire to a glass-walled cafe and drink hot chocolate and beer while snacking on charcuterie and table-side s’mores.
Just across the East River, there is another new rink on the rooftop of Pier 17 in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport neighborhood. This one was made of synthetic ice: a plastic, spongy material that parents can easily walk on as children master skates.
2023 was the first year that people could ice skate 100 stories above ground at the Edge, the observation deck at a skyscraper in Hudson Yards, or roller skate on synthetic ice inside the vast Oculus at the World Trade Center. And until Jan. 7, there was another new rink at Luna Park, an amusement park in Coney Island that has typically been a summer destination. (These are in addition to the classics: the Rink at Rockefeller Center and Wollman Rink in Central Park.)
Ice skating, a cold-weather pastime for thousands of years, is happening in even more places this winter. New rinks have not just popped in New York, but all over America, offering proficient and aspirational skaters alike a nostalgic seasonal activity that doesn’t require snow, which has been in short supply after the hottest year in a century and a half.